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One third of the average person’s life is spent at work which is why its so important to enjoy what you do and who you do it with. I recently clicked over 10 years working at Merrifield’s and I can honestly say that I’ve never loathed coming to work. I know I work in a great environment with a great bunch of people but I’ve been thinking about what it actually is that makes a great work environment.
Firstly, I believe working with a group of people that have a sense of humour is number one. Real Estate is a stressful industry because conflict is unavoidable. We generally wear the brunt of that conflict because we are the conduit between a seller and buyer or a landlord and tenant, we don’t make the decision’s but we answer for them. As well as dealing with conflict we have a very cyclical workload meaning it can be all or nothing depending on the marketplace. It always seems like the universal likes to bunch up all our issues and increase our workload at the same time to test our resilience. Stress is inevitable in a busy, fast paced profession which is why a sense of humour is so important to me as a good laugh can lightening your mood and relieve anxiety levels. Not surprisingly, there is always something to laugh at around here with so many big personalities in one place.
The second most important aspect of a great work environment is knowing the people you work with. The people I sit next to probably know more about my day-to-day life than my closest friends or family. When you sit next to someone for 38 hours a week that’s a lot of time together and a lot of conversations about what you’re cooking for tea that night. Spending the time getting to know your co-workers is so important for a happy work life because when you understand what’s going on in someone’s life it’s so much easier to get along. For me personally I have made some great friends from workplaces which have been maintained after the employment finishes.
Flexibility is the third thing I believe makes a great work environment. I personally don’t like following the same routine every day, I like that some days are in the office, some days are out at properties and I work from home on others. Having a work place that allows you to give and take makes such a difference. We have had staff members come from other offices who had never seen a school assembly or sports carnival.. Simple actions like half an hour lunch break to see your child receive a merit certificate doesn’t cost a thing and makes a big difference to home life. For me I don’t have children but I live away from my family so I spend a lot of time on road to Corrigin or Perth. I always leave just after lunch because that’s what is safe for me, I know many people who aren’t afforded this flexibility.
The fourth element is working with people that want to be there. I’ve accepted that people come and go from workplaces and its nearly impossible to get the right 20 people under the roof at the same time. For me there is so much difference between an employee who really values their job compared to someone who sees their position as a steppingstone to something else. In my experience when you get a group of people together who really value their job, creativity, efficiency and enjoyability all increase. People who are committed to their workplace or position generally have a drive to continually improve that workplace and strive to increase service standards.
Finally the last element I consider to be imperative to a great work environment is employing people with similar values to the company. A few years ago, Merrifield stopped employing people based on their experience and starting employing people who fit with our values and attitude. This has made a seriously big difference in our workplace and whilst we may have overlooked applicants who have had great experience it’s been a positive change.
Those are my thoughts on what makes a great work environment but there is also an individual element to enjoying your workplace. As a person you can choose to be positive and enjoy your work place or you can choose to take a negative view on everything. I’ve learnt that sometimes people are so trained to see negatives in situations they don’t even know they are doing it. Like everyone I’ve had things not go my way at work but I choose to see the bigger picture that a few negatives don’t out way all the positives.
Have I missed something that makes a ‘great work environment’? I would love to hear your thoughts?
By Carly Szczecinski – Commercial Manager